When endodontic surgery is required
Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with injured pulp from extraction. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery.
Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on digital radiographs but still manifest pain in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.
What is an apicoectomy?
An apicoectomy or apical surgery is when an incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months restoring full function. At times, a bone grafting material has to be placed to aid in healing.
Following the procedure, there may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended.
What to do if you have any post-treatment discomfort and pain
Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be slightly tender for several days as a result of manipulation during treatment and previous condition of your tooth. This tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm. To understand and respond to normal pain, please consider the following:
- Do not chew food on the affected side until your endodontic therapy is completed and your tooth is covered with a protective restoration provided by your general dentist.
- You may continue your regular dental hygiene regimen.
- Discomfort may be alleviated by taking ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. Alcohol intake is not advised while taking any of these medications.
- Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with the above listed medications, or should swelling develop, please contact our office immediately. The office telephone is answered day and night. If you need to call after hours, please have your pharmacy number available.